GERMAN ROMANTICISM OF THE 18TH AND 19TH CENTURIES. A CRITICAL STUDY OF THE 4 GREAT ROMANTIC ARTISTS WHO REVOLUTIONISED GERMAN ART DURING THE 18TH AND 19TH CENTURIES: AN APPRECIATION OF PHILLIP OTTO RUNGE (1777-1810) FRANZ PFORR (1788-1812) FREDERICK OVERBECK ( 1789-1869) AND CASPAR DAVID FREDERICK ( 1774-1840): PART 1

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In this series of articles on German Romanticism I will be concentrating on the 4 great artists Phillip Otto Runge, Frederick Overbeck Franz Pforr and Caspar David Frederick.

Brian Lukacher in his critical study starts with Phillip Otto Runge and the role of Landscape painting in Germany.

” The distinctive capacity of  Landscape painting to enfold contradictory ideologies about national and cultural Identities during the first half of the 19th Century was especially significant for the development of Romantic art in Germany”. [1].

” Phillip Otto Runge writing in 1802 of the moribund conditions oif modern religious and Historical art”. [2].

Lukacher continues to comment on German Romanticism commenting on its aesthetic qualities in Germany.

” Runge spoke not only to the inner creative and spiritual life of the artist but also to the political dream of the national consolidation of the disparate German states”. [3].

” For Runge and his fellow German romantics landscape Painting was the art of the future through which a rejuvenated and unified German Nation could express both its sense of heritage and its sense of Destiny”. [4].

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Peter Walks on Water, 1806, Philipp Otto Runge

Lukacher clearly shows the religious influences and the role of subjective Idealism which drive these German romantics to conjure Gods and demons.

” The German Romantics theorised their relation to the natural World in terms of rapturous subjective reflection and yearning , unfulfilled self expression”. [5].

” For Runge and his compatriots also served as a Nationalistic forum of collective hope for political and spiritual unity especially in the wake of the rapid invasions of the German States”. [6].

Lukacher shows how Runge was driven by Poetry which he developed from William Blake the great English Revolutionary artist.

” Runge responded enthusiastically to the purported primitivism and evocative natural metaphors of Ossianic Poetry”. [7].

” Runge’s drawing of Fingail may well remind one of Blake’s Revolutionary Icon Albion Rose”. [8].

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Lukacher further commenting on Runge shows the similarities between Runge and Blake in their depiction of visual imagery.

” Runge and Blake shared an affinity for Mythopoeic theories of human culture and both strove towards the Discovery of Diversity of communicative art”. [9].

” Runge sought to realise his new conception of Landscape Painting through his ambitious project known as (Times of the Day)”. [10].

Runge who was the supreme Idealist sought to marry Art through Idealist Religious notions of God ,   the dream of the Idealist in Art is to break with Realism and Materialism.

” Runge’s (Times of the Day) aspired instead to transcendent condition of Art in which nature and Humanity were to be registered as divine signatures”. [11].

” Colour Theory and the properties of light became increasingly important to Runge’s art as he sought to translate the Linear simplicity of the (Times of the Day) into a more fully pictorial medium”. [12].

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Fight of Achilles with the River Scamander (black and grey wash on paper)

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Monk by the Sea Caspar David Friedrich

Runge in particular reacted to the Napoleonic invasions with pure Patriotism and Nationalism for the defence of the Motherland. A true Bourgeois democrat.

” Runge nevertheless responded to the Napoleonic invasion of the Prussian and Swedish states with a powerful patriotic lament that was in stark contrast to the elated Mysticism of the Tageszeiten (Time of the Day)”. [13].

” The establishment of a self-consciously national character in German Art during the Napoleonic wars was most fundamental to a secessionist group of Artists from Vienna Academy of fine arts known as the Lukasbund”. [14].

Referring to the Lukasbund Lukacher shows that it was started by Franz Pforr and Frederick Overbeck.

” Spearheaded by 2 artists Franz Pforr and Friederick Overbeck  this co-fraternity of artistic souls named their movement after the Patron Saint of the aristic guild during the Medieval period”. [15].

” Pforr and Overbeck had been deeply impressed by the Romanticised accounts of Durer and Raphael in William Wackinroder’s Writings”. [16].

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” The Lukasbund rejected Modern urbane notions of the Artistic profession and its Institutions and instead pursued a communal lifestyle in which the creation of Art was at once an act of Daily craft and of Priestly devotion”. [17].

” The Enlightenment and the French revolution might as well not have happened judging from the Intellectual persuasion of their writings”. [18].

This concludes the first part of my investigation into German Romanticism. In Part 2 I will consider in detail the Giant of German Romanticism Caspar David Frederick.

FOOTNOTES

  1. 19TH CENTURY ART -A CRITICAL HISTORY: LANDSCAPE ART AND ROMANTIC NATIONALISM IN GERMANY AND AMERICA. BRIAN LUKACHER.PG.143
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5 thoughts on “GERMAN ROMANTICISM OF THE 18TH AND 19TH CENTURIES. A CRITICAL STUDY OF THE 4 GREAT ROMANTIC ARTISTS WHO REVOLUTIONISED GERMAN ART DURING THE 18TH AND 19TH CENTURIES: AN APPRECIATION OF PHILLIP OTTO RUNGE (1777-1810) FRANZ PFORR (1788-1812) FREDERICK OVERBECK ( 1789-1869) AND CASPAR DAVID FREDERICK ( 1774-1840): PART 1”

  1. I love among many the Lowrider one. Is there a symbolism of religion and how it can mark the body in mind and soul….what are your thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Myra,
      thanks for your comments especially as you enjoy some aspects of my Blog. Concerning the German Romantics I believe they were Idealist and wanted to marry Mind and Soul . I am a Materialist and Realist but nevertheless they made a great contribution to German Art and it is important to recognise their immense contribution In Part 2 I will concentrate on Caspar David Frederick who was the greatest of the German Romantics. Laurence x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I love the way light and little details were captured and now that I think yes quite the marriage of mind and soul to see these things.

        Like

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